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Bitter cold leads to hundreds of closings in Northeast Ohio
Other morning headlines: Utilities ask customers to conserve; Attorney accused of instructing inmate to exaggerate execution
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and LAUREN SCHMOLL


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Bitter cold leads to hundreds of closings in Northeast Ohio
  • Wind chills reach dangerous lows
  • Utilities ask customers to conserve
  • Kasich calls for more calamity days
  • Attorney accused of instructing inmate to exaggerate execution
  • Columbus City Schools investigation to be released
  • Pilot Flying J national sales manager pleads guilty
  • Pipes burst at Stow Municipal Court
  • State senators push to rename road
  • Manufacturing important in nation's economy
  • Layoffs expected at Parmadale
  • Bitter cold leads to hundreds of closings in Northeast Ohio
    Dangerous wind chills are greeting Northeast Ohio as the region gets hit with another blast of Arctic air. Most of Ohio is under a wind chill warning until Wednesday. Wind chills are in the negative twenties in Akron, Cleveland and Canton. The weather is giving students from pre-kindergarten to college a break. Kent State, University of Akron and Ohio State have canceled classes. The temperature dip also forced Cleveland's zoo to close to the public. Cuyahoga County government is shut down for the second time this month because of the extreme cold. County Executive Ed FitzGerald is calling only essential personnel to work today. That won’t affect the County Council meetings planned for this afternoon, however, including one to discuss to proposed renewal of the ‘sin tax.’ The county is considering a May ballot issue for a 20-year extension of the tax on alcohol and cigarettes to help pay for stadium upgrades and maintenance for the Browns, Cavs and Indians.

    Utilities ask customers to conserve
    More utilities are asking customers to conserve energy during the subzero temperatures we are experiencing. PJM Interconnection manages the flow of electricity in 13 states, including Ohio. It’s asking customers to turn down the thermostat, turn off lights, and avoid using major appliances today, especially between the hours of 6 and 10 a.m. and 5 and 9 p.m. PJM says voluntary energy conservation efforts helped the company avoid rolling blackouts during the cold spell a couple of weeks ago. The subzero temperatures are creating record demand for electricity.

    Kasich calls for more calamity days
    Governor Kasich is calling on Ohio lawmakers to give the state’s schools extra snow days this year. John Charlton of the Ohio Department of Education explains the governor thinks many schools are exhausting the five calamity days now allowed by law. Charlton says the governor wants to work with lawmakers to find a one-time solution that keeps students safe and gives them the instruction time they need.

    Attorney accused of instructing inmate to exaggerate execution
    An attorney for a condemned Ohio inmate who snorted and gasped during his execution was temporarily suspended last week while officials investigated whether he had coached the inmate to fake symptoms of suffocation before he died. The Ohio Public Defender's Office says Robert Lowe, an attorney for inmate Dennis McGuire, was back at work Monday after an internal review could not confirm the allegation. The probe was first reported by The Columbus Dispatch. State prison records released Monday say guards were told by McGuire that Lowe wanted him to "put on this big show." McGuire's fitful display on the execution gurney has sparked criticism across the world and calls for a death-penalty moratorium. His family has sued alleging undue cruelty. 

    Columbus City Schools investigation to be released
    Ohio's largest school district is preparing to respond to findings of a state auditor's investigation into allegations its employees manipulated attendance data. Auditor Dave Yost is scheduled to release his findings on the Columbus city schools today. District employees have been accused of altering attendance records for struggling students to improve performance ratings, which can be used to determine government funding and employee bonuses. The practice is called scrubbing. Yost's review of Columbus was spun from a broader review he conducted last year that identified more than 70 Ohio schools or districts that made attendance reporting errors and a handful that scrubbed.

    Pilot Flying J national sales manager pleads guilty
    The former national sales manager for Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s truck-stop company has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud. Brian Mosher is the eighth Pilot Flying J employee who admitted to a role in a massive fuel rebate fraud. According to a federal affidavit, Mosher led company training on rebates and cautioned other Pilot employees not to – quote -- “jack with” sophisticated trucking companies but to target others who might not notice they weren’t getting full rebates. The affidavit also said Haslam congratulated Mosher for saving Pilot money. But Haslam has denied knowing anything about the rebate fraud.

    Pipes burst at Stow Municipal Court
    There’s a big mess at the Stow Municipal Court after a frozen water line ruptured for the third time in three weeks. The latest burst on Saturday caused quite a bit of damage in the records room. The Beacon Journal reports water sprayed down from the ceiling, destroying thousands of closed case files. Minor misdemeanors are required to be kept for five years, more serious offenses for 50 years. The clerk of court and his staff are now sorting through those records.

    State senators push to rename road
    Two Democratic State Senators are pushing for a bill that would rename parts of US 422 in honor of political strategist Arnold Pinkney. Pinkney died earlier this month. Senators Nina Turner of Cleveland and Joe Schiavoni of Boardman want to name US 422 through Youngstown and Cleveland as the “Arnold R. Pinkney Memorial Way.” Pinkney grew up in Youngstown and was a Cleveland businessman. He is best known for his work as a political strategist, which included running Jesse Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign.

    Ryan: Manufacturing important in nation's economy
    Northeast Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan is hoping the president will highlight the manufacturing industry in tonight’s State of the Union address. Last year, President Obama spoke about a manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown and pledged to help foster similar hubs around the country. Ryan of Niles says 90 percent of patents in the USA are from the manufacturing sector. It also contributes $120 trillion to the country’s economy. He is hoping for legislation to fund more institutes like the one in Youngstown. A bill authored by Senator Sherrod Brown would provide funding for 15 additional institutes.

    Layoffs expected at Parmadale 
    More than 100 people will lose their jobs when Catholic Charities stops using a Northeast Ohio residential treatment center for troubled youth.
     The Plain Dealer reports that the layoffs were discussed in a letter from the president of Catholic Charities to the state regarding Parmadale. The changes are expected by mid-March. The closing of the residential treatment center comes after the state Department of Mental Health placed Parmadale on probation during an investigation into allegations of a former employee having an ongoing sexual relationship with an underage patient. The closing ends nearly 90 years of residential services for children at Parmadale. Parmadale will still have other social service programs.

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